Sunday, 14 February 2010

Emotionally and Socially Capable Children

I have been looking into aspects of social and emotional development and how best to support it as part of my February planning, and I read an article that talked about helping children who were experiencing domestic violence at home, and how to help them develop resilience to cope with it.  It occurred to me that being resilient was important for all children as they all face challenges at different times.  The main points from the article were:
  • Maintain a strong one-to-one relationship with each child.
  • Provide safe ways to communicate worries other than by talking about them.  This could be through mark-making, puppetry or making up stories.
  • Model a rich 'feelings' vocabulary; anxious, afraid, confused, embarrassed. Putting them with facial expressions helps children to learn that everyone has feelings.
  • Encourage toddlers to empathise by 'translating' the body language and feelings of other children.
  • Ensure that children see both men and women engaging in caring and helping roles and getting along well.
  • Be a good role model and always show the behaviour that you expect.
  • Identify unique and special traits in each child and tell them about it. (see the 'I love you the purplest' activity in Febraury planning.)
  • Display delight and wonder at the little things in life, like a sunny day.
  • Provide sensory actvities indoors and out to aid stress relief.
  • Connect children to nature whenever possible - resarch has shown that experiencing the natural rythms build a sense of attachment and security in children.
  • Have a pet - they provide unconditional love for children!
  • Make plenty of time for free play - children use play to make sense of he world around them.
  • Give children choices to provide them with a sense of control.
  • Let children help with preparing food, serving drinks, watering plants etc - this makes them realise that they do make a positive difference.
  • Maintain a predictable routine - this doesn't mean always having lunch bang on twelve o clock, but does mean always setting the same table and serving in the same way; recognisbale routines help children to feel safe and secure.
  • Provide an uncluttered learning space to help children concentrate.
  • Provide fewer resoures at any one time by rotating them, to avoid over-stimulating children.
  • Create small cosy spaces indoors and out.
  • Use postitive discipline; work on resolving conflicts with the children.
Adapted from Nursery World Article, Feb 11 2010

There are many elements that I do already, but some that I would like to introduce and some I am tussling a little with to think of ways that I could incorporate the ideas into a home-setting. 

One thing that I do well already is: delight and wonder at little things.
One thing to start tomorrow is: provide fewer resources out at one time.
One thing to think and plan for is: making cosy spaces indoors and out.

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